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Why Elvis Lives
by Derryck Strachan
One of the most amazing things about music is that it lives on, and in a way, so does the artist. And this year, the King of Rock-n-Roll celebrates his 75th birthday. So, to celebrate this very special anniversary, let’s take a look at the mystery, the genius and the sex appeal that surrounded the King.

Elvis Aaron Presley was born, as a Sun Capricorn, on the 8th of January in 1935, into humble circumstances to Gladys and Vernon Presley in a tiny house in Tupelo, Mississippi. The family moved when Elvis was thirteen, to Memphis, and by the time Elvis was 19, he had met the legendary record producer, Sam Phillips of Sun records, who saw in the raw musician a possibility to fuse country-western and rhythm-n-blues, with a frenetic, fast backbeat. At that time, there was a cultural divide between white and black music. Elvis’s appreciation of black music, gospel, and traditional country was unusual, especially given his roots.

After many dry runs, they eventually found the sound that Phillips had been looking for and they recorded his first single “That’s all right”. Yet all of this didn’t come easily to Presley, who sometimes had attacks of the jitters before performances. On top of that, he encountered plenty of rejections along the way. This is where his Capricorn drive and determination kicked in - during the long struggle to make a name for himself, he didn’t give up.

Elvis’s contract was acquired in 1955 by Colonel Tom Parker, manager to country and western legend Hank Snow. Parker`s name has become as synonymous with Presley’s, as those of Priscilla and Las Vegas. Parker went on to manage Elvis for over two decades.

The first single, recorded with Parker for RCA Victor in January, 1956, was Heartbreak Hotel. It became a #1 hit. Elvis’s uninhibited stage presence, along with gyrating hips, shaking legs and high energy songs, made him hugely popular but also controversial, in part due to the racial division breached by his music. In the end, nothing could stop Elvis from breaking through and becoming a superstar.

Yet despite this fame, fortune and adulation, it seems that for much of his life Elvis was a tortured soul. He was devastated by the death of his mother in 1958 of heart failure, at the age of only 46. Elvis had been extremely close to her - even after he had grown up, they continued to talk to each other in baby language and called each other pet names. His Natal Moon in Pisces aspected his Natal Pluto in Cancer in the very intense 8th House. It seems that their relationship therefore was karmic, possibly indicated links to past lives. But there was also something a little strange about his intense adoration for her.  

Elvis had a Sagittarius Ascendant (ruled by the expansive Jupiter). However, he also had Jupiter itself placed in the deep and intense Scorpio, in the highly psychological 12th House.  So, there was an air of mystery about him, as well as great compassion and generosity which he demonstrated throughout his short life.

Elvis appeared not to have a care in the world. It seemed those lucky breaks simply fell into his lap. Jupiter can be the planet of luck and it made a wide Trine (or positive link) to the potent Pluto in Cancer. Through a combination of hard work and of being in the right place at the right time, Elvis made it big - really big!

Elvis had bucketfuls of charisma and sex appeal. One of the main focal points of his chart is a T-square with Uranus (the planet of magnetism) in Aries at the apex. Uranus is squared by Pluto in Cancer, and both Venus and Mercury in Capricorn. This is a very high powered combination of energies - especially the square between Uranus and Pluto. It suggests that Elvis was a blend of the homespun and the whacky. He was a revolutionary who was not going to conform. It was because he found his original voice that he became the success many of us know and love. It was because of his natural magnetism, which attracted women to him in hoards.

But all this came at a price. The T-square also meant that he had Mercury and Venus in opposition to Pluto, in his 8th House. Venus is the planet linked with health and wellbeing in his chart, and being torn apart by these energies on the inside and the outside, meant that the strain was immense. His Sun in Capricorn also angled to the sometimes deceptive Neptune. This meant that when he was under too much stress, Elvis would look for escape through drugs and alcohol.

There seem to be two sides to the Elvis story - the official one cooked up by those running the multi-million dollar empire associated with him, and the real Elvis. For example, it was widely publicised that Priscilla, his former wife, was a virgin bride and that they didn’t consummate the marriage until after the wedding. But there are also accounts that when Priscilla first met Elvis at the age of fourteen, he didn’t hold back at all. At the time he was stationed in Friedberg, Germany with the 3rd Armoured Division.  He was apparently drawn to Priscilla because she resembled his mother.

Saturn in Aquarius made a wide conjunction to his Moon, suggesting that no matter how much Elvis was adored, he never felt truly loved. That and another aspect between the restrictive Saturn and Pluto created intense and turbulent emotions within him.

By all accounts he wasn’t particularly faithful to Priscilla, and she wasn’t faithful to him. This was true before they were married as well as after. Together they had one daughter, Lisa Marie. They separated after only six and a half years and Priscilla managed to get a good settlement. They remained friends until his death in 1977.  Priscilla saw the huge potential in Graceland, Elvis`s home and final resting place. She invested over $500,000 to make it a money spinner. Within 38 days of opening, she had recouped her cash and never looked back.

In making a closer comparison between the two charts, we can see that Elvis’s Pluto (power, control) aspected Priscilla’s Venus (affection, sex) in Aries. This made their relationship very intense and at times rather manipulative. In the Composite chart, Pluto negatively squares Saturn and Neptune opposes the Sun. Together they faced some difficult and dark issues that would have made it very hard to remain on easy terms. It may have appeared idyllic, but things were not as they seemed.

Elvis seemed to have a problem knowing when to stop. The immense pain he felt inside meant that he was always trying to numb himself with women, prescription drugs, food, or whatever was at hand. In his last years it is said that he was eating somewhere around 85,000 calories per day, which is enough to feed a small elephant. His manager, Tom Parker, maintained a Svengali-like grip on him, which added to the mounting pressure. Finally it became too much to bear, and he died suddenly in August of 1977, at the young age of 42.   

Elvis`s death having made him all the more desirable and appealing to people worldwide, from all walks of life and of all ages, and catapulted him to legendary status. The devotion of his millions of fans ensures that his light will continue to shine. And in this special birthday year, this is the perfect time to celebrate his enduring and unique legacy.

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